B12 Orbiting Souls

B12 Orbiting Souls
7
B12 ended a five-year silence earlier this year, resurfacing with a four-track EP called Bokide 325. The project is now solely the work of original member Steve Rutter, and he's followed up Bokide with another EP, Orbiting Souls.
 
Rutter doesn't stray far from the modus operandi he's used over the last two decades on this record. In fact, Orbiting Souls almost feels like a period piece, so effectively does it recreate the feel of '90s ambient techno and IDM. Ghostly pads pursuing minor-key chord progressions form the foundation of most of the music, with mechanical 909 drum patterns moving things forward and, occasionally, bass lines that take their cue from the funk inflections of early Detroit techno.
 
Like much early techno music, B12's work continues to conjure images of sci-fi inspired techno-futures like the one that adorned the cover of their 1996 album, Time Tourist. But one development in Rutter's more recent work is a drop in energy and pace, so that it no longer feels like the soundtrack to a seething space metropolis but the hinterlands of a future universe.
 
In someone else's hands, a record like this might be written off as a genre exercise, but that charge falls flat considering Rutter helped to invent the genre in the first place, and his strong execution makes this a rewarding listen. (Delsin)